I think the key is to avoid giving too much attention to realistic economies and to make sure players can still DO things in town. For players it sorta doesn't matter if its silver or gold, but it gets old real quick always be broke even after an adventure.
I have lots of things to do in town basically, there's a town leader that could be a source of information, jobs or investments, the marketplace, where the adventurers can buy gear, invest in commodities (as in buy bulk stuff and resell it somewhere else), hire recruits, recruit henchmen, seek out lodging (and recruit, get rumors/jobs,etc, if available). There's also a possibility of a military installation (which is like a village within a town or a town within a city), a guild compound (like the military installation... more options but restricted access). Cities are basically collections of towns (districts) with a possibility of one or more temple compounds (with more options and restricted access)...
The output below is beta (I'm using Tablesmith to do my generation), but I have a set of percentages depending on the size of the settlement for just about everything. Overall, I wanted some systematic way to generate the bulk data for a settlement and its "contents" so I could take that and fiddle with it a little more. Every available person to talk to (general rumors, recruiting, or specific folks with information/jobs/investments) requires a CHR/PERS check and some amount of money.
Wealth Factor: 1747 Silver
Security Factor: None
Food: Local, standard fare; Rumors: CL:0 4 sps
Recruits: 0-level ( Trapper/furrier); 2 sp/day (DC 14)
Equipment: ( 30 Iron Spikes, 39 pieces of Chalk, 11 Flasks of Oil, 16 Empty Flasks, 6 Waterskins, 6 Large Sacks, 2 Backpack, 23 Large Sacks, 14 pieces of Chalk, 4 Flasks of Oil, )
Weapons: ( 1 Flail, 4 Sling, 1 Sling, 1 Polearm, 7 Daggers, 8 Javelins, 2 Flail, 3 Blackjacks, 2 Longbow with 39 Arrows, 1 Polearm, 4 Flail, 2 Warhammer, 7 Spears, 4 Flail, 7 Clubs, 7 Javelins, 1 Polearm, 1 Battleaxe, 11 Darts, )
Medical Services: Pending
Special Equipment: Pending
The Drunken Shrine - 2 cp (Common room and stew); 4 sp (Private room with meat, bread and ale)
Hirelings 0-level ( Sailor (fresh or salt)); 2 sp/day (DC 14)
Temple Services: Pending
Arcane Services: Pending
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